Monday, May 12, 2008

Elephants Improve to 5-1!


We loaded up the team charter bus this morning for the 2+ hour drive to Palermo for our last meeting with the Sharks and their excellent QB, Arturo Sanchez, who drove us crazy in our first game.

Today was "Rookie Day" and it started with all the rookies having to wear ski clothes on the bus. Their day would finish by having to sing a song and tell a joke on the bus ride home.

In between, we had a game to play. We started well scoring on the opening drive with a run by Enrico Lombardo to take a 7-0 lead. They would counter two series later to tie it up at 7 all. Jason threw a TD pass to Pepe Strano to end the first quarter with Catania leading 14-7.

The Sharks answered on their next possession to tie it at 14-14. On our next series, Enrico ran the ball into the end zone for his second TD of the day, Elephants 21-14. The Sharks QB hit another TD pass to again tie it at 21-21. Jason then threw his second TD pass of the half to Claudio Mangano, and no, Roberta did NOT make the trip to Palermo! Catania 21 - Sharks 14. At this point Matt Epperson took over and changed the tempo of the game with a 50+ yards interception return for a defensive TD making it Elephants lead 35-21. Fabio Scuto had a big sack with the Sharks on our goal line to end the half.

The Sharks took the opening drive of the second half and their QB threw his fourth TD of the day to cut Catania's lead down to 35-28. This time Jason threw his third TD of the day to Enrico, Elephants now leading 42-28. After a huge sack on fourth down from our 7 yard line by Brandon Bennett and Fabio Scuto for a 33 yard loss, Jason found Pepe again in the end zone for Jason's fourth TD pass of the day. The third quarter ended with Catania ahead 48-28.

The fourth quarter saw two big defensive plays, the first being a tipped pass by OLB Salvo Sicali that fell into DE Fabio Scuto's hands for a big interception. The second key play was turned in by CB Mario Rivada who broke up the Sharks' final fourth down pass near our goal line. Final score, Catania 48-28.

Next week is our second BYE week of the season and I fly to California on Monday to spend a week with my American family and friends and, most importantly, to see our son Michael graduate from Cal State, Channel Islands. The following week we have a huge game at home against the Parma Panthers. The IFL battles continue...

A shout out again this week to our kicker, Andrea Mannino, great kickoffs and 3 for booming on his PAT's.

Rookie skiers getting ready to load up the bus for Palermo.

Where in the heck did "Smitty" find a Davey Crockett cap in Italy and would he really ski in it?

Ski bums, Brandon (nice cap) and Matt with Matt's buddy from Finland, Andy in the middle.

Andy is a 6 year veteran of Finland's top league of American football, is a great guy and played against Matt last season in Finland. 

A Serie "C" 9-man game (no offensive tackles and no defensive ?, you pick it) was being played before us between Palermo and a team in green from Brindisi, located in the heal of the Italian boot.

Brindisi was the easy winner.

An Aztec Warrior QB from Mexico

Sharks' QB Arturo Sanchez threw 9 TD passes in two games against us, fortunately we won both games!

Coach Matteo Belfiore and Matt Epperson after the victory.

Check out the writing on Matteo's shirt. It sums up our season in a nutshell.

Rookie CB, Massimiliano Garipoli, "Call Me Smith", belting out one of his favorite tunes for the veterans on the bus ride home without the aid of his coonskin cap.

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